Man United made it two wins from two pre-season tour games today, beating Melbourne Victory in Australia. But what did we learn from the encounter?
It has been rather special watching Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United work over the last couple of games.
These matches, more than anything, are about building up the fitness levels and adapting to how the new manager wants to play. It’s always nice to see how the new signings and younger lads are getting on, too.
Against Melbourne Victory, United weren’t as crisp as they were against Liverpool – though at times, they were equally effective. Anyway, let’s get right into what we’ve learned during this one.
Erik ten hag’s plan is clear
Pass. Pass. Pass. United’s style is already looking drastically different than it did under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Ten Hag has a set way of playing, keeping hold of the ball and playing those high-percentage passes. There was also a willingness to press from every single player out there in Red Devils colours. Obviously, the Dutch manager has stressed the importance of pushing high up the pitch.
Defence still needs work
It’s pretty obvious to see why Ten Hag is so desperate to bring Lisandro Martinez to the club. Within minutes, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire all made an error to allow Melbourne Victory to score.
Be it personnel-wise or a change in shape, something’s gotta’ give. The regular starters from last year just haven’t been good enough in terms of consistency. And if we’re going to continue in that manner in 2022/23, United are not going to enjoy much success.
Jadon Sancho is looking sharp
For me, the Englishman has been the standout player on tour so far. Whenever he’s on the ball, you feel like he’s going to create a chance or make something happen.
The Three Lions international looks that half a yard quicker, that little bit more hungry and most importantly, fully fit. Sancho blew hot and cold last term, but you get the feeling given a real run in the side under Ten Hag, he could erupt and start to show why United spent so much to bring him in.
Zidane Iqbal looks like a massive talent
The youngster was always willing to try and get on the ball and make things happen. He looked right at home in that United midfield, playing with a maturity beyond his years.
The highlight was a lovely little spin move he did on the edge of the area to get away from two markers and create a half-chance. I genuinely believe this young man has a real shot at earning some first-team minutes in 2022/23.
Shout out to Charlie Savage, too.
Donny van de Beek still quiet
Anyone else starting to get a little worried about Donny?
Sure, I get it, he’s only played two halves of football, but when you watch Iqbal and Savage shine, while he looks a little off the pace, I am concerned.
I don’t doubt that it may take the Dutchman some time to get the confidence flowing through his body again, but I’m just not sure he’s good enough at the highest level.
As always, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong.
What did you take away from Man United’s game against Melbourne Victory? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.